Broneslav pushed through the doors into the main temple. He was now under the hill and it would have been dark in here, were it not for the lit torches in brackets along the walls. These showed that people still inhabited the place and that he must be careful. Curiously, there was an ornate compass rose on the floor in the entrance and, on the wall opposite the entrance, a glowing drawing of a hand pointing to the right.
N.B. In the following description, bold numbers in parentheses refer to the numbers on the map accompanying this post.
He paused and listened before drawing his sword. He felt no desire to harm the Siswa, but you never knew what else might lurk here. Using the sword blade he lifted the curtain on the alcove to the left (1). As he did so, a sword slashed through the curtain at him, succeeding only in cutting the fabric. Broneslav reacted instantly and dived towards the attack. As he did so, he realised that his opponent was an armoured Elf who blocked Broneslav's blow with his shield. His opponent then opened a cut in Broneslav's leg with a deft flick of his sword (3 DAM! Ouch!) but Broneslav hammered the Elf with his sword pommel. His attacker's eyes rolled up in his head as he collapsed bonelessly to the floor. With the aggressive Elf unconscious, Broneslav took time to bandage the cut to his leg (heal 2 hit points) and then checked the Elf.
Remembering the pool outside (2), he quickly disarmed the Elf and slung him over his shoulder. Moments later, he had thrown the Elf into the disgusting water. The Elf thrashed around a bit, spluttering and choking but clearly conscious once more. Suddenly the water itself reared up and started forming around the Elf who struggled to his feet as Broneslav grabbed for him. Aided by Broneslav, the Elf staggered backwards out of the pool, still choking and coughing, but now covered in slimy green algae. The pair of them backed away from the pool which was now thrashing tendrils of water at them (Water Weird: HD 3, AC 5, Att 1, DAM Save or take 1 point of damage from drowning each round). Once at a safe distance they paused to catch their breath. Broneslav had a thought.
"You," he said to the Elf, "Wait here or I will hunt you down."
The Elf nodded assent as he sought to clear his lungs of water.
Broneslav dived in towards the creature and swung his shield at its watery limbs. His clumsy blow thudded into the creature and the limb collapsed to the courtyard splashing suddenly normal water everywhere. A second liquid tendril struck at Broneslav but he ducked beneath it and riposted naturally with his sword. Wet from the previous blow, his hand slipped from his sword's hilt and it went flying into the pool. (I rolled a 1 and invoked DM's fiat to make it a critical failure because it amused me) Stunned by this lack of dexterity, Broneslav forgot to duck as the water creature grasped him with its remaining limb and hauled him into the pool. As he was dragged under, Broneslav managed to take a huge gulp of air. He flailed at the creature to no avail as it kept him under the water by sheer force. Suddenly it stopped holding him down and his head cleared the water. The Elf was now standing over him with Broneslav's own sword in hand. Clearly the Elf had slain the creature. Now the point of the sword was directed at Broneslav and the Elf's face was grim. Time stretched out until the Elf quickly reversed the sword, returning it to Broneslav.
"You're not one of them. I'd be dead if you were. So, who are you, stranger?"
Broneslav introduced himself quickly and explained his errand. The Elf grinned.
"I was one of the rescue party. I'll help you, if you will have me. We failed our mission, but you seem made of sterner stuff. It takes guts to take on a water weird like that. My name is Alki."
Broneslav snorted as he suppressed a laugh. Alki sounded like the Traladaran word for someone a bit too fond of their beer.
"Yes, join me. But first, I noticed a lot of gold in the bottom of this pool when I was dragged in, and I am going to need money for new clothes, I think. These are a bit too blood-stained and mucky for polite company."
The pair quickly gathered the coins from the sludge at the bottom of the pool. There was around 60 Royals extra in Broneslav's pocket as the pair returned to the room where he had encountered Alki. As they entered the temple once more, they came face to face with a skeleton warrior (HD 1, Att 1, AC 7, DAM 1d6) (3). Broneslav swung wildly at it while fending off its spear with his shield, and then stepped in and smashed it to the ground with his shield. It did not stir again.
Once inside the room, Alki re-armed himself and the two warriors stepped out into the corridor to face whatever challenges the rest of the temple had to offer. They could see rooms to their left and right at the ends of the corridor they were in, and there was another room behind a curtain to the right of the entrance. The curtain offered concealment, so our intrepid hero and his sidekick stepped quickly through the curtain to surprise anything that might lurk there (4). The candles in the room did look rather startled but the chests under the table were impassive. The pegs on the walls suggested that this was once a cloak room, and the piles of mouldy cloth on the floor suggest that the clothes have not been word in some time. A quick search of the room found a lot of copper coins and a dozen or so silver ones which Broneslav quickly put in his pack. Waste not, want not, as his uncle still often said!
From the cloakroom, he led the way to the right hand room (5). Moving cautiously along the wall, he pulled up short to listen but heard nothing. Poking his head round the corner, he saw that the room was lit but empty. A statue stood on a platform with an altar in front of it. A dusty pile of old cloth lay in front of the altar. Checking them quickly, he realised they were robes and not in bad condition either. They were on the small side for Broneslav, but would fit Alki perfectly.
"These look like the robes of the Siswa," Alki told him, "Perhaps I could wear one and we could try to bluff our way past anyone we meet. I fear that your size would give you away immediately though, but this one might fit."
Broneslav donned the robe, cut a slit in the side to make it fit better and was then content that he had done what he could.
Sneaking to the other end of the corridor they found another room with a raised platform, altar and statue (6). This time the altar was round and had a hole in it some four feet wide. Broneslav felt into the altar but could not feel the bottom. It was pitch black as far as he could see and went a long way down.
With the two rooms scouted and the options being one of two corridors, Broneslav decided to follow the direction of the glowing hand on the entrance wall. He headed back to the other shrine and prepared to follow the corridor out of that room ...
Broneslav Torenescu (S16, D14, C15, I12, W10, Ch14, F1, HP 8/9, AC4, Sword 1d8+3, Bow 1d8)
Torenescu Family Member 1
Keen Vision 1
Good Education 1
Empathy with Animals 1
Goal: Prove that he is an adult following the Shearing Ceremony
Goal: Slay a red dragon
Quest: Deliver a parcel to Merisa in Gray Mountain Village
Alki (HD 2, AC 4, Att 1, DAM 1d8, Skill Bonus +2)